7 Not keeping fingers close to the fret.
Its easier to play and you will sound better when you place your fretting finger close the the fret. A lot of times I see students putting their finger about halfway between two frets. If you do this you’ll need to press down harder on the string which makes it harder to play. Also, your notes will tend to not ring as clearly.
8 Letting the guitar lay flat on the lap
When you first start playing you need to be able to see your fingers clearly so you know you are doing things correctly. Many beginners will tilt the guitar back – sometimes until its almost flat on their lap – so they can see better. Don’t be one of those people! Doing this does allow you to get a better look but it also puts your hands in a terrible position for playing. Pay attention while you are playing to make sure this doesn’t happen to you. Its easy to do this without noticing.
9 “My fingers aren’t long enough!”
This is very common. So many students have told me that their fingers are not long enough to be able to play the 6th string or play a G chord or anything else that requires a big stretch. Usually I’ll ask the student to hold their hand up to mine and show them that their fingers are about the same size as mine. Then I’ll demonstrate that I can play those big stretches without a lot of effort.
The problem is almost never the size of the hand. Its getting your fingers used to making those awkward movements that only guitar players need to make. Once you are aware of this you can change your mindset from “I will never be able to do this” (ie my hand is too small) to “I am learning to do this correctly”.
10 Using giant pick strokes
This is another really common mistake. More than half of all the beginners I’ve taught have started out using huge pick strokes. When picking a single note, the pick should usually only move around a quarter inch (about .5 cm). Kids especially tend to use a lot of motion when they pick but adults are sometimes guilty too.
The problem is often due to the fact that the student is using the elbow to move the pick. The elbow should stay more or less motionless. The motion should come mostly from your fingers when playing a single string and from your wrist when strumming chords.
Those are the top ten mistakes I’ve come across in my years as a guitar teacher. I hope that you found at least one or two that helpd you get better on guitar. If you’d like to share the mistakes that you’ve made I’d love to hear about them. Leave them in the comments section below.
BTW, I just completed my brand-new video course “Learn Guitar With BrianGuitarGuy”. You can enroll in the course and get started right now by clicking on the link.
See you there!